Fashion Transparency Index 2019 – the results

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Last week, (almost) everything revolved around the Fashion Revolution Week. Many of you know that the birth of the worldwide movement is as striking as it’s tragic: it was April 24, 2013, when Rana Plaza collapsed, an eight-story building in Sabhar, Bengal, where mostly textile workers lived. More than 1,100 people were killed and almost three times as many were seriously injured. The 400-page report of the Commission of Inquiry tells that the building was in danger of collapse and this fact was evidently also well-known to those responsible. However, the tragedy can not be undone by any of this. It requires though – and here begins Fashion Revolution – a global network that changes the fashion industry sustainably and emphatically and observes & indexes to what extent certain companies improve in terms of transparency.

The Fashion Transparency Index does just that. Since 2016, it has ranked the world’s largest brands in supply chain transparency and social and environmental policies. The focus is on brands that generate at least $ 500 million in annual sales – 200 brands this year. In terms of content, there are five key areas that are relevant to the ranking:

1 Policy and commitments
2 Governance
3 Traceability
4 Supplier assessment and remediation
5 Spotlight issues, which this year focus on the Sustainable Development Goals

The methodology stands or falls with the willingness of companies to share information on the points mentioned. The more willingness to transparency, the better the results, so the simple logic of the Fashion Transparency Index.

The good thing in advance: In fact, much has improved over the past four years. With 250 points to go, Adidas, Reebok and Patagonia each scored 64%, sharing first place. This is followed by Esprit, H&M, C&A, Asos and Puma. Compared to the two previous years, this is a significant step forward: in 2017, none of the brands had crossed the 50% barrier. It turns out that, above all, brands that operate in the sportswear and outdoor sector are showing increasing willingness to take a stand on the aforementioned key points.

Sarah Ditty, Policy Director at Fashion Revolution, notes in the official press release on the Fashion Transparency Index: “The progress we are seeing this year, coupled with the feedback Fashion Revolution has received from brands, suggests that inclusion in the Fashion Transparency Index has motivated major fashion brands to be more transparent. We are seeing many brands publishing their supplier lists and improving their scores year on year.” This improvement can even be quantified exactly: For the 98 brands that were reviewed in 2017 and 2018, the average score has improved by 8.9%. 11 of these brands have even raised their score by more than 10% – a figure that shows that industry pressures are growing.

In the area of ​​luxury brands, Gucci and Bottega Veneta in particular were able to score points. With a rating of between 31 and 40%, they are well below the sports brands mentioned above, but have achieved 100% in the areas of “Principles and Obligations” and “Control”. Chanel, Sandro and Dior were also able to improve their scores and show that even the big fashion houses are increasingly disclosing information about their supply chains.

As positive as the developments may seem at first glance, Ditty tries so hard to stress that the work is far from over. Of course, the index does not provide immediate insight into how ethical or sustainable a business operates, but it also sets out the willingness of brands to publicly admit to their human rights and environmental practices and their consequences. That this is one of the key levers to more accountability & liability, Ditty confirms equally: “We will continue to use the Index to measure brands’ progress and help push them harder and faster towards taking on more responsibility for their policies, practices and impacts.”

You would like to take a look at the current Fashion Transparency Index? Then check it out here!

Toy Standards – And how to test them

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After agreeing at the end of last year that our New Year’s resolution for 2019 should definitely be to look behind the scenes more often, to ask more and to become even more transparent, we have already fulfilled this promise – and met with Mandy Geddert. Mandy is the woman behind the rubber bands that you can buy in our shop since last May. As we keep coming up with questions about how safe these rubber bands are – especially when used in children’s toys – it was a lucky coincidence that Mandy had them tested just now!

Hello Mandy! “Toy standard” – everyone has somehow heard of that, but concretely can imagine the least. Recently your rubber bands have been tested. Why exactly did you decide that?

I received specific requests from toy manufacturers, especially for dolls. They obviously had problems obtaining heavy metal and nitrosamine rubber bands that can be used in baby and toddler toy manufacture under 36 months of age. In the described target group, the legal requirements are higher than for the toy standard. Babies and toddlers put everything in their mouth as intended. By spitting and gnawing on toys, components, such as small hairs of fibers, can enter the digestive tract and thus into the whole organism, and can damage it due to their ingredients. Nitrosamines are already carcinogenic in very small quantities. In this respect, the German limit values ​​for nitrosamines are set very low.

I had not heard of nitrosamines until then. I had to get smart first. I got help with the research from Nadja Lüders, the specialist for toy standards. The topic was suddenly so exciting for me that I was ambitious to find out which ingredients were in my tapes, of which I had no knowledge.

Nice to hear that you’ve gone on the research adventure immediately! And now that you are an expert, what are these nitrosamines and N-nitrosatable substances?

Nitrosamines can be found in many different areas: in foods, tobacco, cosmetics or latex / rubber goods. In rubber production, amine-containing chemicals are used as preservatives or vulcanization accelerators, which can be converted to nitrosamines during the production process.

N-nitrosatable substances are precursors of nitrosamines, which can only be converted to the carcinogenic nitrosamines after the transition from saliva in the acidic environment of the stomach.

Mandy Geddert explaining her haberdashery to a customer during Munich Fabric Start

How does a test run, what are the steps and how long does it take?

For a test, I submitted a sample of 25 grams per band. The test method for heavy metals simulates the solubility of certain substances and elements of the test object with artificial gastric juice. This process is called examination to migration.
In this process, the soluble substances were extracted from the individual constituents in an amount which comes as close as possible to the proportion in the digestive tract after ingestion.
Subsequently, the concentration of the dissolved substances was determined exactly and this concentration was determined in 1 kilogram of the test object. On the basis of defined limit values, this value could then be classified as harmless or critical in accordance with EN 71-3. Thus, it was quickly apparent whether the standard was met.

When testing for nitrosamines and N-nitrosatable substances, the textile-coated rubber cords were mixed with saliva solution and stored for several hours at a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. The saliva solution was then tested for nitrosamines and N-nitrosatable substances in accordance with DIN EN 71-12. The test run took 10 days.

In which fields/ products is it important to comply with the toy standard?

The safety of toys and play equipment is regulated in the European DIN EN 71 and in the consumer goods regulation. Stricter limits apply, in particular, to toys / baby articles intended for children under the age of 3 to be put in the mouth.

What exactly was tested in the test commissioned by you and, above all, what were the results?

It has been tested for heavy metals such as aluminum, antimony, arsenic, cadmium, barium, boron, chromium, chromium III, chromium VI, cobalt, copper, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, selenium, strontium, tin and zinc. And N-nitrosamines and N-nitrosatable substances. The test results were all well below the specified limits.

Do most customers already know which standards to apply in production, or is this really a common learning and development?

My customers, who produce toys professionally, are very familiar with the guidelines. Precisely because the European requirements in this area are very high. For me it is more of a learning and further education.

Design sewing with Lebenskleidung

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On the 1st of December, just in time for the weekend and the First Advent, we will start with our Lebenskleidung Sewcember!
You get 10% off your fabric orders – the perfect surprise to replenish your pre-Christmas fabric supply.
You can get some nice inspirations from our design talents, who supplied us with different fabrics with the launch of our new collection & who then sewed beautiful pieces in no time at all!

Above left you can see Jannina’s casual attempt to present herself and her son in a partner look – and we think that worked out great and are a little jealous of this cool dream combination! She sewed our Nicki Velour in the new color Golden Yellow.

Directly below: Verena’s wind-and-weather parka, which we currently could very well use. Leading actor here is our beautiful Genoa Corduroy in Ocher, which Verena sewed after a cut by Lotte & Ludwig. More information can be found on her blog!

Katharina von Radiokopf sewed our new Corduroy Sweat in Golden Yellow into a really great parka. Our cuffs in Rose and a Striped Jersey are also shown!

Our new Corduroy Sweat has another appearance: Katharina von Tag Für Ideen has spotted it in the color Tulipwood and transformed it directly into a beautiful parka for her daughter. More photos and the pattern can be found on her blog!

Diana from Sewleo sewed a pretty great hooded dress from our sweatshirt – again! – the current season color Golden Yellow!

Tatiana picked our Jersey in Air Marl and sewed a wider cut Betula with wider cuffs – and on top of that pimped them with iron-on ABC – we think the result is terrific!

Lee, whose image we do not see here, sewed our beautiful, flowing Wool Jersey and made a classic, timeless shirt with it – the result you can admire on her blog!

We thank you and are happy about the results as always!!